UI Design Bad Example: Elevator in my building

There are people posting UI design issue of elevators. I’ve seen one UI design writing about a strange phenomena in a building that he visited, that when people see other people coming to the elevator, they would give them a friendly smile and close the door on them when they get there. He later discovered that people were really trying to press the button to hold the door, but because the locations of the close button and hold button were switched, they did the opposite.

This blog post focuses on the design issues of the elevator in my building, which may not be unique to others, but they are eating me from the inside if I don’t write about it.

Issue 1: Visibility of system status

The system status for elevator is intuitively simple. It should show on every floor that which floor it’s on right now, so people can make an estimation of the time they have to wait for the elevator. And this information is usually displayed on the top of the elevator door on each floor. However, here in this particular design it was replaced by a sign saying “Elevator B”. Not only does it not give you the information that you expect, the information that’s displayed prominently is completely useless.

Issue 2: “pressability” of the buttons

I was so confused when I saw this the first time. I had no idea what is pressable and what not. My first intuition was to press the black half of the button. It didn’t work. Then I tried the white key. It did the trick. But the problem was that it didn’t give me tactile feeling that the button goes down a little bit when I press it, however the button does light up after I press it. This is not a huge problem for me, but imagine if you were a blind person, how would you find out about where to press and whether have you pressed the correct button. This design flaw turns the effort to include theĀ Braille illustration for floor number into waste.

There are many more things about is elevator that I really don’t like. But they don’t hurt the design as much as these two above. I’m just gonna leave a couple of pictures for you guys to make your own judgement.



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